tv Democracy Now PBS May 20, 2015 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT
sergeant james brown. he served two tours in iraq only to die in a jail in el paso, texas. authorities claimed brown died due to a pre-existing medical condition but shocking new video from inside the jail raises new questions about how the 26 year old african american man died. we will speak to his mother. dinetta: i mean she served two combat tours in iraq. she comes home for this? i want to know why. i want to know what happened. amy: then, say her name -- while the names of michael brown, eric garner, tamir rice and freddie gray have become household names, why don't we know more about women killed by police? women like tanisha anderson, rekia boyd, miriam carey michelle cusseaux, shelly frey and kayla moore. today relatives of these women gather in new york for the say her name vigil.
>> she will never come back. we will never be able to hug and kiss her no more. we will never be able to say i love you. we will never see the smile again. amy: and we will go to seattle where protests have been held against shell's plans to drill for oil in the remote and -- in the arctic this summer. we will speak to seattle city council member mike o'brien. about the protests and also about the tpp, the transpacific partnership. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the u.n. says some 25,000 people have fled the iraqi city of ramadi since its capture by the self-proclaimed islamic state on sunday. thousands of iraqi forces and iranian-aligned shiite fighters are massing around ramadi in preparation for an offensive to
retake it from isil. the u.s. has also launched airstrikes and is reportedly considering speeding arms deliveries to iraqi militias in anbar province. the u.n. says it needs more time to bring aid to areas of yemen following the end of a five-day truce. a u.n. spokesperson said only half of the proposed supplies were delivered before saudi strikes resumed sunday. >> the humanitarian cause was not large enough to reach those in need of food and there is an appeal for a series of breaks in the conflict to deliver this aid. amy: the u.n. says yemen has only been able to import one-tenth of the fuel it needs each month. more than 1,800 people have died in yemen's conflict so far. israel has canceled an order to
bar west bank palestinians from riding on the same us is as israelis. it would have applied to the hundreds of palestinians who cross into israel each day for work and return home. the defense ministry had introduced it as a three-month pilot, but benjamin netanyahu probably canceled it following an outcry. los angeles has become the nation's largest city to approve a significant increase to the minimum wage. the los angeles city council voted tuesday to raise the minimum from $9 to $15 dollars an hour by 2020. the move will impact as many as 800,000 workers, or almost 50% of the workforce. it's expected to spark wage hikes across southern california and boost similar efforts nationwide. the japanese air-bag manufacturer takata has doubled its recall to nearly 34 million vehicles, the largest in u.s. history. the airbags can explode when activated, spraying occupants with sharp metal fragments.
the defect has been linked to six deaths and dozens of injuries. 10 automakers have recalled vehicles in the u.s. so far. an oil spill off the coast of santa barbara, california, has leaked some 21,000 gallons into the pacific ocean. the coast guard has enacted an emergency cleanup after the spill left an oil slick on close to four miles of beach and 50 yards into the water. the company behind the spill plains all american pipeline has shut down the ruptured pipeline. meanwhile in louisiana, a state of emergency has been declared near baton rouge after a cargo train with oil tankers derailed. a former top cia official and intelligence briefer to president george w. bush before the iraq war has acknowledged bush and vice president dick cheney falsely presented information to the public. in an interview with msnbc's chris matthews, michael morell was asked about cheney's claim that saddam hussein was seeking nuclear weapons.
chris: was that true? michael: that is not true. chris why did you let them get away with it? michael: my job is -- chris: you see cheney make the charge he has a nuclear job subsequent charges, and nobody raised a hand and said that is not what we told them. michael: that was not my job -- prince: to tell the truth. michael: as a briefer bring information to the president of the united states, not watch what they are saying on tv. do you think it is a joke that cheney said that? michael: that is not my job. chris: they are using your stuff saying you made the case when you did not, using your credibility.
mike -- michael: i am just telling you -- chris: they gave a false representation of what you said to them. amy: that was mike morel being questioned by chris matthews. on tuesday, democratic hopeful hillary clinton was asked about her senate vote to support the iraq invasion. mrs. clinton: there have been a lot of questions posed to candidates. i made it clear i made a mistake plain and simple. i wrote about it in my book talked about it in the past. what we see is a very different in danger situation. the united states is doing what it can, but ultimately this has to be a struggle that the iraqi government and the iraqi people are determined to win for themselves.
amy: four u.s. cancer charities are being accused of massive fraud. the federal trade commission says the groups funneled some $187 million dollars into top officials' pockets. the charities are the cancer fund of america, cancer support services, children's cancer fund of america, and the breast cancer society. it could be one of the largest charity fraud cases of all time. police in texas are urging a truce between rival gangs in the aftermath of a shootout that left nine people dead. more 170 people have been charged in participating in organized crime. officer swanton: i will tell you that in the gangly world and biker world violence usually condones more violence. it is this over? most likely not. we would like it to be. we would ask there to be some type of truce between whatever motorcycle gangs are involved.
we would encourage them to be peaceful and let the bloodshed stop. amy: and a columbia senior who lugged a dorm room mattress around campus to protest the university's handling of sexual assault, has carried it across the graduation stage. emma sulkowicz carried the mattress all year in a call for a student she accuses of raping her to be expelled. a group of friends helped sulkowicz carry it at their graduation ceremony at columbia university on and those are some tuesday. of the headlines. this is democracy now, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. juan: and i am juan gonzalez. welcome to our viewers and listeners around the country and the world. we begin today with a story about an iraq war veteran who served two tours in iraq only to die in a county jail in el paso, texas.
sergeant james brown was just 26 years old when he mysteriously died in 2012 after he reported to jail for a two-day sentence for driving while intoxicated. brown, who is african-american was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder at the time. his family had long suspected foul play in his death, but received little information from authorities, who said he died because of a pre-existing medical condition. well, a local news station, kfox 14, recently obtained video from inside the jail showing brown's last moments sparking new -- moments. amy: the video shows something happened which caused brown to bleed in his cell. when he refuses to speak with guards, a team in riot gear storms in and swarms on top of him, while he repeatedly says he can't breathe, and appears not to resist. a warning to our audience the , following video is disturbing.
sergeant brown: i can't breathe. help me. help me. i can't breathe. help me. i am choking on blood. i am choking on my blood. amy: "i am choking on my blood" said sergeant james brown as his condition deteriorates, as he is carried to an infirmary and has a mask placed over his face. he's then given an injection. he begs for water and is given half a dixie cup as he heaves.
sergeant brown repeatedly states he's having severe trouble breathing. sergeant brown: not getting too much air. may i lay on the floor? >> no, sir. sergeant brown: we have to do one or the other to help my breathing. >> column down. sergeant brown: i will. please. please. can't relax. you have to take this mask off
of me, please. juan: by the end of the video, brown has said he can't breathe at least 20 times. then, he is left naked in a cell, not blinking or responding, his breathing shallow. attorneys say an ambulance was never called. brown was eventually brought to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. authorities claim he died from natural causes after an autopsy report cited a "sickle cell crisis," but his family says he died as a result of his treatment in jail. their attorney b.j. crow spoke to kfox. mr. crow: when a 26-year-old checks into jail on a friday and he leaves sunday in a casket, something went horribly wrong. he was breathing out of the years, the nose, the mouth -- his kidneys shut down, his blood pressure dropped and shut down. amy: james brown's family has
filed a lawsuit against el paso county saying his constitutional rights were violated. democracy now! invited el paso county sheriff richard wiles to join us on our program, but he declined. he did send a statement saying "mr. brown's death was an unfortunate tragedy. the sheriff's office has conducted a thorough review of the facts surrounding mr. brown's death and, based upon all the evidence obtained, determined that his death was caused by a pre-existing medical condition." well, for more, we go now to seattle, washington, where we're joined by sgt. james brown's mother, dinetta scott. welcome to democracy now! welcome -- can you explain the video -- the death occurred in 2012. it is now 2015. tell us the significance of what you know now. dinetta: i have not watched this
video in its entirety. i have seen four seconds of it, and i heard my son begging for his life. i cannot watch it. i do know that it is very disturbing, the part that i did see where he is unable to breathe. it is devastating. it is inhumane. it is unexplainable, what happened to him. juan: were you ever told by authorities that the video existed and why it has never come to light or been made public since then? dinetta: no. that was never explained to us. juan: and in terms of the autopsy report, did authorities -- what did they tell you about how your son died? dinetta: the medical examiner
stated that it was a sickle cell crisis due to him being restrained, that is why he went into a sickle cell crisis. he stated that he had viewed this on the video. that is when we said a video exists? we would like that video. nothing ever came of that until two and a half years later, which is where we are at now. amy: the video is just astonishing, but can you go back to 2012? did you talk to your son before he self-reported into the jail? he was stopped for dui and he was going to be held for two nights. dinetta: correct. he received a dui in 2011. he had continuously gone to
court. when he got his sentencing it was five days with time served. since he already served three days one day picked him up, -- three days when they originally picked him up, he only had to do the weekend. i spoke to him prior to him checking in on that friday night and then i received a call from him saturday morning stating that the jailers had said he would have to stay in incarcerated for seven days instead of the initial two days and he said could you please send money so that i can pay the court finds so i can leave here because i need to report to duty on monday. juan: now, he had already served two tours in iraq and he was still on active duty? dinetta: correct. juan: and when was he diagnosed with post-traumatic stress? dinetta: i believe it was the
beginning of 2011. amy: did he talk to you about the conditions in the jail? dinetta: no, he just basically said he needed to get out of there and could i please get the money so that he could leave and that you explain everything to me when he got out. amy: can you describe your son, sergeant james brown, to us? dinetta: excuse me. he was a jokester. he was very confident. a natural born leader. loyal to no-fault. a loving person. either you like him or you did not.
he did not really care what people thought of him. he just was a loving kind of guy. one of a kind. i am not saying that just because he is my son. he just was a genuine person. he did not sugarcoat things and he did not lie to you. if you wanted to know the truth that is the person that you would ask, and many of his friends said if you wanted somebody to have your back, he wanted james brown to have your back. juan: and the terrible irony of him coming back from serving his country twice in iraq to end dead in a cell in el paso texas. dinetta: in that video i heard my son begging for his life on
u.s. soil. this was not his enemy that he was facing. this was a u.s. citizen that was treating him like he was an animal, and it should not be allowed. that should not happen to anyone in the united states. amy: we were just showing pictures of james. how many kids does he have? dinetta: two. amy: how old are his children? dinetta: his stepson armani is 12. his daughter is five. amy: when did he join the military? dinetta: in 2005. amy: was it right out of high school? dinetta: no. he graduated in 2004. he was in a motorcycle accident in 2003, which he had to have a rod put in his femur, so he
opted to wait a year to have the rod removed so that he could join the military. his joining was delayed. juan: in the past year or two we have seen this enormous growth of the black lines matter movement as a result of what has -- lives matter movement as a result of what has happened in ferguson, cleveland, and african-americans killed in custody. your son died almost three years ago. your sense of the connection of this movement that has grown up in the united states in the last two years. dinetta: i believe it -- race is not an issue. i believe it is men that have been given a certain amount of authority who are abusing it. it is very unfortunate that all
of the victims have been african-americans, but this lies within our system. these are people that are abusing their authority and using it inappropriately. amy: finally dinetta scott what has happened to these guards? one, the pylon in the cell, and then the mask put over him -- he is saying he can't breathe, that he is choking on his own blood -- what happened to all of these guards? dinetta: absolutely nothing. amy: i want to play one clip for you. kfox 14 interviewed one of the last people to see sergeant brown alive -- a fellow inmate who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
>> i did not do nothing. i was keeping my mouth shut. they took into a room in front of us. when they were bringing him out a guard gave him -- i do not know what the shot is called. they gave him a shot and he collapsed. when he collapsed, that is when they jumped on him, and they kind of beat him up. he was out. he was already out, on conscience. they were putting their elbow on his neck. you could snap somebody's neck like that. they picked him up and dragged him out. amy: so, that was a fellow prisoner who spoke on a conditioner of anonymity.
dinetta scott, can you describe about what he said about what happened to your son, james brown? dinetta: it is inexcusable. they all need to be held accountable about what they did to my son. the sheriff made a statement that my son died of natural causes. there was nothing natural about the way my son died. they never should have went in that cell. they never should have pulled him out. if there was a problem, they should have contacted the military, mental health, someone that was able to deal with him instead of rushing him like that and attacking him and beating him when he is down and cannot defend himself. it is unacceptable. amy: what are you asking for in the lawsuit? dinetta: i want change.
i want policy and procedures put in place that will protect our soldiers when they are in public facilities -- that the military stepped in and take accountability for their soldiers. these are men that they trained. they should never be put in the hands of civilians because civilians live one life and soldiers live another life. they need to be dealt with by soldiers. policies need to be put in place that when an end this incident happens in a public facility they need to go in and investigate instead of taking the word of the institution. they need to find out what happened to their soldier and if they have a liaison in place they would already know what went wrong, when it went wrong, or whatever the case may be. i believe if my son would have
had a representative from the military with him every step of the way, we would not be here today. amy: one last question. do we know what your son was injected with? in the video we see him injected at least once by the guards. dinetta: according to the report, it was tell it all -- a combination. i am not sure on the exact amount given to him, but according to the jail report that is what they stated they gave him. amy: dinetta scott, thank you for being with us, mother of sergeant james brown. sergeant james brown died after being in jail in 2012. he served two tours of duty in iraq. he was on active duty at the time.
"strange fruit. here on democracynow, democracynow.org, the war and peace report, i am amy goodman along with juan gonzalez. juan: as the black lives matter movement grows across the country, the names of michael brown, eric garner, tamir rice and freddie gray have become household names. all died at the hands of local police sparking waves of protest. during this time far less attention has been paid to women who have been killed by law enforcement. women like tanisha anderson, rekia boyd, miriam carey michelle cusseaux, shelly frey and kayla moore. well, today a say her name vigil is being organized in new york to remember these and other women. amy: with us today are three guests who will be remembering at the vigil. frances garrett is the mother of michelle cusseaux who was killed in 2014 at close range by a phoenix police officer who had been called to take the
50-year-old woman to a mental health facility. martinez sutton is the brother of rekia boyd who was was fatally shot last month by an off-duty police officer in chicago in 2012. also with us is kimberle crenshaw is professor of law at ucla and columbia university and founder of the african american policy forum. she's the co-author of this new report. the group is releasing a report today titled "police brutality against black women.” professor, let's start with you. lay out what it is that you have found. kimberle: we have known there has been a problem with -- police brutality for decades and over the past year, as we were talking about just now, there has been a movement that has grown in response to it and there are certain frames which we understand -- the driving while black mike brown being seen as literally a monster, and that just of as the excessive force used against him.
what we know less about is how black women have experienced police brutality and during this period that we have been marching around police brutality, there has been a study of the number of women that have been killed and we have not known their names understood their circumstances. so, the report was basically an effort to literally lift up the names of people to recognize that black people experience police brutality and many of the same ways that black men do, and also in some ways that are different. many of the cases involve police literally coming into people's homes, their bedrooms, and actually killing them. it is important that if we understand the names that we repeat the stories that we repeat help us think about how to broaden the demands against police quality, we have to include women so that some of
the interventions extend to the way women are also vulnerable to police brutality. juan: whitey think there has been such little attention or publicity on the women that have been -- why do you think there has been such little attention or publicity on the women? kimberle: there are a couple of reasons. then, in general, are killed more, but women are killed. the frames we have are not frames that are gendered as female. we understand police brutality largely to the traditional flame -- frame of state-sponsored lynching and we understand lynching as extrajudicial efforts to restrain and repress black masculinity. it is also true that throughout history black women have been lynched and subject to other kinds of racial violence like rape and sexual abuse, and we are finding not only are black
women killed by police, they are also subject to some of these same historical problems. there are went -- they are women that many people do not believe then many do not see is vulnerable or they are not empathized with. that prompts a coercive or violent response to them, or an effort to abuse them knowing no one will believe them. amy: well, last year, just days after michael brown was shot in ferguson missouri, michelle cusseaux was shot and killed close range by a police officer who had been called to take her to a mental facility. sergeant percy dupra claims she threatened him with a hammer. her family joined supporters the week after her death in marching
her casket from phoenix city hall to the u.s. attorney's office to call for an outside investigation. >> this is for michelle. this is for michelle. this is for michelle. this is for michelle. juan: phoenix police say they are now creating a crisis-intervention squad to respond to calls involving the mentally ill. in a minute we will be joined by michelle cusseaux's mother frances garrett. amy: and as we talk about this, just to be clear and fran garrett is with us now, your daughter was killed just after michael brown was killed. frances: that is correct. amy: talk about what happened to your daughter. frances: well, from what i understand -- i was in california at the time. michelle -- i had spoken with michelle's caseworker earlier
that morning. michelle allegedly, had called the -- phoned down to the mental health behavioral health center, and had threatened them because of her treatment and transportation had somehow not arrived. so, she was somewhat upset. i had spoke with her case manager that morning. i thought everything had been resolved. i spoke with michelle. no one at that time had ever said that they were sending out an order to pick michelle up. later on that morning, i -- let me rewind this. i was in california for a suitability hearing. i had lost a son to a drive-by years prior to this and that is what had sent michelle on a spiral downhill with her mental health issues.
so, i had spoken with michelle that morning and i had let her know that i had for given the young man and to accept his apology. michelle said she also had for given him for taking her brothers life. -- brother's life and she said she forgave him and accepted his apology. one of our lady -- later michelle was killed by the phoenix police department. my daughter -- she was a very caring person. she had mental health issues. she also went back to school and became a peer to help others such as herself. from what i understand, after pickup orders had been given for the police to go up -- go out and pick michelle up to bring her back in and get her on medication -- the officers who
first arrived had things under control. at some point, michelle was inside. her door was opened when she appeared. her front door was open with the screen locked and michelle had let them know that she was ok. i guess they were there doing a wellness check. michelle said she was ok and just go away. at some point, the sergeant, a 17-year-old -- a 17-year sergeant came on board overstepped his boundaries, opened the door, allegedly said she came at him with a hammer, and he shot her close range once in the heart. michelle was killed in her home. at that time, i am on the phone. the neighbor downstairs had phoned me. i asked to speak with the officers and no one came to the phone, so i was on the phone when all of this occurred and to
hear this, ocean with them -- ocean with them removing my daughter from the home on a stretcher. juan: i want to turn to comments made by the sergeant to describe the moments before he shot and killed her. dinetta: her --sergeant dupra: her eyes were open, she never said a word, but she had the anger in her face. ivy -- i became concerned she would hit me with the hammer and knock me out. juan: that was the sergeant that shot your daughter. could you react to the statement? frances: i really do not know -- michelle was 5'5", 130 pounds.
if the officer felt threatened by someone of that stature then he, i feel, should turn in his badge. there were other officers there with guns drawn. i just did not see michelle being a threat to him. there are other ways, prior to his arrival, they had decided to perhaps get mace. there were other ways to handle that. juan: many officers -- police departments have officers trained to deal with emotionally distressed persons. was is a special unit or regular officers? frances: these were regular normal police. amy: n/a retaking her to a mental health facility. --and they knew they were taking her to a mental health facility. frances: they knew because of the orders to take them -- take her.
my thing is for police not to be first responders in a situation like this, or if so, to have someone from the mental health agency providers there on the scene. since then, the phoenix police department has gotten -- they have come together to make changes. at this point when that incident with my daughter happened, they did not have a policy and procedure in place for officers to do pickups. now they are training them and have come up with a special force to go out into the community to handle situations such as this. amy: we want to also talk about rekia boyd. boyd was 22-years-old when she was killed in 2012 by an
off-duty chicago police detective. dante servin fired several shots over his shoulder into a group of people boyd was standing with near his home, striking her in the back of her head. servin claims he thought a man with the group had a gun, but no gun was found. he was charged with involuntary manslaughter, marking the first time in 15 years a chicago police officer was charged for a fatal shooting. but last month in a dramatic dismissal, judge dennis porter acquitted servin on a legal fine point. judge porter: simply put, the evidence does not support the charges on which the defendant was indicted and tried. there is a finding of not guilty on all counts and the defendant is discharged. juan: speaking from the bench porter suggested prosecutors should have starved -- charged servin with murder after he was acquitted. her mother responded to claims
that he feared for his life and did not intentionally kill her daughter. angela: this man is known around the area he lives. the day before my daughter got shot and killed he asked some of the residents what do i have to do here to get some peace, shoot a blank black? and that is what he did the next day. amy: martinez sutton, if you could talk about what happened to your sister. the judge dismissed the case, saying he should not have been charged with involuntary manslaughter. he should have been charged with murder. martinez: yes, the judge said the should of been murder chargers instead of involuntary manslaughter. he also said you cannot be intentional and reckless at the same time. we had second-degree murder
charges on him at first before they announced that, but at the last minute, once they found out i talked to the officer, they changed it to involuntary manslaughter to further protect him. amy: what do you mean once you talk to the police officer? martinez: i was doing a documentary for my school and as we were shooting a documentary he pulled up in the same car he killed my sister in, and he said who are you people, and i said this was martinez sutton, rekia boyd." brother -- boyd's brother, and he said can i get a hug? i stared at him, and i embraced. he then said i wished it was him that was dead instead of your
sister. he went back to i am sorry, i pray to the three mary's across the street every time i leave. how can you wish someone was dead? how can you wish somebody else's life was taken? why do you want to take somebody's life off of this earth? juan: has there been any indication after the judge's decision by the prosecutor is that they are going to seek, or can they even -- since it might be double jeopardy -- seek to prosecute him for murder? martinez: i have not heard from the prosecutors since the case has been over, they've not contacted me at all, further showing they were working with the police all along. amy: after dante servin was
acquitted the attorney's office's bonita said -- anita said i am very concerned. -- disappointed by the judge's ruling. your response? martinez: they did not do everything they could. when i said why could we not get first-degree murder and the prosecutor said i know what i'm doing, i have over 20 years of experience doing this, are you a lawyer? i said i do not have to be a lawyer to know the right charges, and he constantly said i have over 24 years of experience. let me do my job, and you see the job that he done. juan: this is police detective dante servin addressing
reporters. detective servin: i explained to the family -- my family is praying for them and we continue to pray for them. my heart goes out to the family. my family and i have also suffed gatly for t pas thre yrs. this is something i will live with for the rest of my life. juan: your reaction to detective servin's remarks. martinez: his family has also been something for three years. my family has to go through this for a lifetime. he gets to go home and create memories. the only memories i have is on a t-shirt. it is not the same.
dante -- he told me his version of what happened that night and from what he said, "i shot out the car, got out the car continue to fire." he was looking for blood that night, so -- amy: the judge's words are killing -- citing case law, he said the charge, involuntary manslaughter was inappropriate. he said the act of intentionally firing a gun at some person or persons on the street is an act that it is so dangerous to made is beyond reckless. it is intentional, and the crime, if there be any, is first-degree murder. that is not you saying this. this is the judge saying that involuntary manslaughter did not cover what happened, that it should be first-degree murder, and he dismissed the case, and it is not being brought. kimberle crenshaw? kimberle: it really boggles my mind. to say legal technicality is
just an illustration of how this system actually protects the officer. basically, he is saying he did much more than he is charged of, so because he did more than what he was charged with, we will let him go. just to broaden the entire frame, these are two stories of nine families coming forward today to lift up their family members. the vigil is designed to renumber their names, to lift them up. at noon today at new york law school they michelle cusseaux will be talking more about the specifics of their families cases, but more importantly, the kinds of ierventions they are calling for, number one, having a detail of officers who responded to domestic disturbances or mental health crises that are trained rather than someone who could say i shot someone because of the look on their face. what is that saying about the concern about the public that these officers are designed to war are supposed to protect? that is where we see the stereotypes. that is whe we see precisely the kind of thing -- the person
who killed mike brown said. he saw a monster -- that is essentially what this ofcer is saying. or rekiaappens to be with people the officer wts to kill and it does not matter that she is killed by that. there are many stories like this. it is important that we lift them up. my co-author, black youth project 100, we are all coming together to lift up these stories and we are hoping all people concerned about police violence bring women into the conversation -- all women into the conversation to demand the kind of reforms we need. amy: thank you so much for being here. kimberle crenshaw ucla, founder of this new report. i want to thank you, martinez sutton, for being here. i know how difficult it is to be here to recount what happened to your sister rekia boyd again killed by an off-duty police officer in 2012. he was acquitted last month.
amy: "everything is everything" -- lauryn hill on democracy now democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i am in the goodman with juan gonzalez. juan: we end today's show in seattle, where a major campaign is underway against oil giant shell's plans to drill in the remote and pristine arctic this summer. on monday hundreds blocked the entrance to the the city's port where shell has docked its 400-foot-long, 355-foot-wide arctic-bound "polar pioneer" drilling rig. michelle -- the shell rig arrived thursday. amy: -- the rig arrived thursday even after seattle's mayor announced its permit as a cargo ship does not apply to oil rigs. amy: now seattle's city council has issued a notice of violation against shell and could issue fines of up to $500 a day. all this comes after the obama administration announced
conditional approval for the company's plans last week. for more we are joined by seattle city council member mike o'brien. on saturday he was among hundreds of kayakers who surrounded the rig for a "paddle in seattle." welcome to democracy now! how is the shell rig allowed to be at the port? councilmember o'brien: the port of seattle is a separate governmental entity and they reportedly cut a deal to sign a contract with a contractor that was contracting with shell last fall and that only came in early-january. there was a couple days notice, a short meeting, people stood up and protested, but by then the deal was done. since then, there has been a total outrage in the city of seattle for this deal and there may be an opportunity for the port of seattle to revisit that contract, at which point a lot of us are hoping they reconsider their decision and do not allow shell to stay here. juan: can you talk about your
decision to join the protest? councilmember o'brien: is known as a environmental city, and we are very committed to fight climate change, and when you have a company like shell, who knows we have three times more oil in the ground then we can safely burn without preventing catastrophic climate change, and they are saying that is not enough -- we want to drill more -- in an environment, frankly where there is no safe way to drill arctic oil, that just goes against everything we stand for in the city, and when they want to bring their drilling fleet into the waterfront of seattle and store those ships in the 30-story drill rig, it calls on the people of seattle, including myself to go out there and say we cannot accept this, we need a new energy policy and we need shell to reconsider their options, too. amy: quickly, can you talk quickly or note the violation that the city, seattle, served on shell? councilmember o'brien: the port
is a different entity, but they want to get a permit and we issued a permit to operate that as a cargo terminal. shell oil story and its oil rig there is not a cargo facility, so they are now in violation of that permit. we issued a notice earlier this week. they have a few days to get into compliance, which would largely mean removing the oil rig or applying for another permit, which would take months to likely get. if they are not in compliance in the next week or so, we have the right to start issuing fines. unfortunately, the maximum fine is pennies for shell, $500 a day. juan: i want to ask you about the tpp, the secretive 12-nation agreement. john kerry visited to call for support of the tpp. i wanted to ask you what you thought about that. councilmember o'brien: a little over a month ago, the city council passed a resolution stating our opposition to fast-track tpp and stating our
concerns for what we heard was in that trade agreement. it is hard to fight against something that actually no one knows what is in it because it is top-secret, that what i have heard and what we have all heard from every mental leader, late -- environmental leader, labor leader, is that it is a bad deal for the environment and we think it is appalling something like this would get fast-track authority to move forward. amy: so, how can you make a difference in seattle as a city council member, and also, can you link the global trade agreements with the movement for better wages. seattle was a leader in the $15 an hour movement, you pass it in the city council and now los angeles has announced they have passed it $15 an hour wage that will be in place in 2020. councilmember o'brien: we care a lot about how workers in seattle. we are a trade-dependent state. any kind of trade agreement -- we want to be careful that we help workers and the trade agreements have undermined
workers in our city and country. we know there is a strong movement. it is great to see what happened in seattle happening in los angeles and san francisco, too. we think it is a moment where workers are having their voice and something like this undermines the movement that is so powerful. amy: and the issues that you have spearheaded the $15 an hour minimum wage, and los angeles doing the same? councilmember o'brien: one of the things we heard when we passed a minimum wages jobs will leave seattle, no one will pay that. the reality of what we have seen is that people are still flocking to seattle to open businesses in workers are coming here because they know they will be treated fairly. when you see other businesses falling in line, it sends a strong signal. it is not a mistake. amy: mike o'brien, thank you for being with us. he was part of the kayaks and
the march and he let a unanimous vote in the resolution against the tpp. that does it for the show. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> what a heavenly way to end a meal. a good meal, indeed, at that: some salmon mustard sauce, some great potatoes baked with oregano, and then some angel food cake with berries.